New chicks arrive next week! Sand or pine shavings as bedding?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sarahandbray, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was wondering what is the best (easiest, least messy) way to have bedding in the brooder for our chicks who are being shipped Tuesday!
    Pine shavings? Sand? Puppy pads?
    We will have 25 chicks and I've made a brooder out of a Great Dane size plastic dog crate, with the two halves flipped over and connected. Looks great! Just have to fashion a top with light wood and chicken wire.

    Very excited--our first chickens ever!
    :)
    Sarah
     
  2. sagealbright

    sagealbright Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When we tried sand all they did was dust bathe in it and it was a huge mess. Since we switched to wood shavings we haven't had any issues.
     
  3. KateLandChick

    KateLandChick Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm interested to hear the comments. My first order of chicks will be here week of September 1st. I too am not 100% sure on what method.
     
  4. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! Pine shavings seemed the traditional method, but I read on here others swore by sand. Just seeing pros/cons to both. Thanks for the replies!
     
  5. KCoppock26

    KCoppock26 New Egg

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    I am very interested in what people have to say about this as well. We are moving and getting keets and I was wondering which would work best as well.
     
  6. texaschickyall

    texaschickyall Out Of The Brooder

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    My current batch. I found these pools for 5.00 and have a backup one ready to go with clean pine. Easy to just transfer them to new clean pool daily.

    I always use pine shaving. It's light weight and easy to change out. The bag is huge and last a long time whereas sand is heavy and messy. I also found I didn't like the sand getting flung everywhere. Pine seemed to give me an overall feeling of the brooder just being cleaner. The chicks are very entertained scratching around in it all day. Also provides more warmth, mine love to burrow.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  7. TheGeekySheep

    TheGeekySheep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I have actually tried both sand and shavings, not with huge batches of chicks mind you, only 7-9 chicks each time.

    My first batch I started with a bag of play sand (covered with a layer of paper towels for the first couple days) in a 54-gallon Rubbermaid tote. I used a reptile scooper from the pet store to scoop it out each day and sprinkled some Sweet PDZ in there as well. I never smelled a thing, if not for the peeping you wouldn't have known there were chicks in the house (yes I brooded them in my house, I'm crazy), it was awesome. The chicks loved to dust bathe in it. The only downside was a minute or two of scooping each day and at the end: dragging the sand-filled tote down the stairs to empty it.

    My second batch I didn't want to go buy another sand bag so I used the same tote but just put a layer of shavings in, and layered with puppy pads for the first day or so until they were dry and steady on their feet. I put a new layer of shavings in every few days when it started to get a little smelly. I didn't actually take all the shavings out each time but the chicks stayed clean anyways, maybe it's optional. The chicks like kicking the shavings around everywhere and a lot got into their feeder until I hung it up. I'd say the downsides are occasional smells and shavings in the food/water but you can fix that by hanging the feeder and using nipple waterers. The upside is I had a big tote full of green/brown matter to put in the compost heap when I was done.
     
  8. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! The idea of scoop-and-clean with the sand sounds awesome...but we will have about 30 chicks. Best bedding for 30 chicks? Probably pine shavings?
    We got straight run, so we're HOPING for 50/50? I have a few friends looking for roosters, so I'll let them have pick-of-the-litter when we start to know who's a Roo!
    We are building a full walk-in shed style coop, so I think we'll have room for 15 or so hens...
     
  9. kittydoc

    kittydoc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For what it's worth, I have read that PINE shavings are not good for very young chicks, perhaps because of the aromatic vapors they release under all that heat. Regular WOOD shavings are great, and that is what we use with our chicks when they're in the brooder.
     
  10. TheGeekySheep

    TheGeekySheep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Probably shavings, yes, especially if they'll be in the coop after they're feathered, it would be easier to manage for that short time period. Make sure you can get a lid on your brooder though, they start flying at about 2-3 weeks.

    I've heard that cedar shavings can aggravate respiratory systems but not pine. What kind of wood shavings if not pine?
     

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